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Press releaseCEDAR CITY -- The Mill Flat Fire burning in the Pine Valley Wilderness Area is now 970 acres in size. This fire on the Pine Valley Ranger District was started by lightning on July 25. The fire is being managed for resource benefit.
Yesterday a 20-person hand crew from the Cedar City Interagency Fire Center was assigned to reinforce the Defensible Fire Suppression (DFS) Zone near New Harmony. This DFS zone is a shaded fuel break approximately 200 feet wide located on the Forest boundary just outside New Harmony. The crew is clearing out oak brush and other vegetation that has grown into the zone. There are 25 people assigned to the fire.
A public information meeting will be held Wednesday, August 26, at the New Harmony Downtown Fire Station. Fire managers will share information about the fire and answer questions. The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.
Most of the growth on the fire over the weekend has been on the north flank due to strong winds associated with passing thunderstorms. The fire has been burning in areas of heavier, dead vegetation that allowed for increased fire activity, thus creating more visible smoke columns. These types of fuels allowed for more rapid growth before the fire then moved into areas of sparser vegetation. The fire is continuing to burn in the same main vegetation types: ponderosa pine, aspen, and fir, with pockets of bug killed fir and dead and down trees. Its location in areas with remnant aspen is helping to clear the way for future aspen regeneration by creating openings in the conifer.
Fire managers continue to monitor the entire fire, while keeping an especially close eye on Dam Canyon. Smoke may be visible from Cedar City, New Harmony, St. George, and Enterprise.
The emergency trail closure has been expanded to include the Mill Canyon and Anderson Valley trails. The Summit Trail is closed between the junction with the Mill Canyon Trail to the junction with the White Rocks Trail. The Mill Canyon Trail is closed from its trailhead to the junction with the Summit Trail. The Anderson Valley Trail is closed from its trailhead to Mill Flat. A map of this closure is posted at www.utahfireinfo.gov.
Naturally-ignited fires like the Mill Flat Fire can accomplish the Forest Service's objectives for fire in wilderness areas: "Permit lightning caused fires to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological role within wilderness," and "Reduce, to an acceptable level, the risks and consequences of wildfire within wilderness or escaping from wilderness."
For more information on these and other fires in Utah, including a map of the Mill Flat Fire, visit the Utah Fire Information website at www.utahfireinfo.gov.
(Courtesy of Dixie National Forest)